written by Vanessa Serrao
As an early childhood educator, I have been working in the field since 2018. I started off as a supply and an educator assistant and I also did field placements when I was doing my diploma at Humber College for the ECE program. I have witnessed how some schools, centers, and daycares do their lesson planning and of course, every place is going to do things differently. But, I’ve realized at the end of the day some things work and some things just don’t. At the end of the day, it is important that activities and lesson plans are done based on the children’s interests and needs. Yes, children are interested in most things, but it is important to document what things really spark their creativity, desires, and interests.
When it comes to working with younger children especially infants and toddlers you may come across them throwing toys. While throwing toys happens children need to know that it isn’t okay to throw toys. But as an early childhood educator that has dealt with this issue, I have come to discover that there is a reason behind this issue. Children may tend to throw an activity or toys if it is something that they aren’t interested in doing.
This is why it is important to plan activities that are based on children’s interests. When you do this you avoid these behavioural issues. Keep in mind of course you want to implement activities that provide educational value, but you can do that while making it fun and planning it based on something that they are interested in. Take the time to document when you notice things that interest the children you are working with.
Also, take the time to ask the children what they are interested in. This way you can plan your lesson plans based on their interests. You will be delighted to see children engaged and excited when they are doing activities that they enjoy.
When I did one of my placements for my ECE diploma at Humber College, something that one of the schools did was give children choices when it came to doing activities. Giving children choices makes them feel heard and makes them feel involved. Plus they get to choose what they are interested in. In addition, they would take a vote, and then the activity that got the most votes would be the one that they do on that day.
As well, another option is having categories of different educational learning areas such as dramatic play, math, science, art, etc, and asking the children what activities they would like to do. This is feasible with an older age group and allows for the children to be involved. Or maybe there is an activity that you as an educator implemented and that child really enjoyed it. Make note of that and try to implement that activity again and consider doing an extension to it.
For example, if you know a child really enjoys science experiments and another child enjoys activities that involve colours you could consider something educational but also fun. For example, you could do a fizz science experiment. All you would need is baking soda, vinegar, and food colouring. In this experiment, you would get the child to drop food colouring and then drop vinegar with droppers. Once the vinegar is dropped it fizzes like a volcano.